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What Causes Chronic Nausea?

By Laura Evans
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Nausea is a queasy feeling or a feeling of the need to vomit. "Chronic" is used to describe conditions that are continuous or frequently occurring. Conditions and treatments that can lead to chronic nausea include motion sickness, fibromyalgia, and chemotherapy.

Motion sickness occurs when the brain receives conflicting messages from the body. These messages typically occur during travel, whether by car, boat or airplane. Riding roller coasters or amusement park rides that cause spinning can also result in motion sickness. The conflicting messages from the eyes, the inner ear, and other body parts can also occur in anticipation of movement.

In addition to chronic nausea, symptoms of motion sickness can include vomiting, cold sweats, and headaches. Symptoms will start to subside when the movement is over. People who wish to avoid motion sickness can try sitting in well-ventilated areas, focusing on the horizon, or eating crackers. In addition, a physician may prescribe a scopolamine patch.

The exact causes of fibromyalgia, a medical condition that is characterized by body-wide pain and tender soft tissues, are unknown. Speculation about the origins of fibromyalgia include that the body's pain message transmissions are miswired, that sleep disorders are a cause rather than a symptom of the condition, or that a virus leads to fibromyalgia. Women between the ages of 20 and 50 are the most common group to develop fibromyalgia.

Many people who have fibromyalgia experience chronic nausea. Additional symptoms can include fatigue, irritable bowel systems, and numbness. Some people experience less intense symptoms over time. Others' symptoms may become more severe. Treatments can include changes in diet, antidepressants, and exercise.

Chemotherapy is a medical treatment that uses chemicals to kill cancer cells as well as reduce cancer symptoms. This form of treatment is also used to fight immune system conditions such as lupus and to prepare a patient for a bone marrow transplant. In addition to causing chronic nausea, chemotherapy can lead to hair loss, anemia, and fatigue.

Not everyone develops chronic nausea during chemotherapy. Using certain drugs, including dacarbazine, cisplatin, and carboplatin, increases the risks of developing chronic nausea. Doctors may prescribe medications such as palonosetron, haloperidol, or antihistamines in order to prevent chronic nausea. In addition, chemotherapy patients often eat smaller meals, practice relaxation techniques and drink fluids in order to help reduce the impact on chronic nausea on their lives.

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Discussion Comments

By turquoise — On Jan 09, 2014

A coworker is currently getting chemotherapy and he has chronic nausea and fatigue. I went to see him the other day and he could barely talk. As far as I understand, the nausea doesn't start immediately after chemotherapy. If the treatment is in the morning, nausea starts at night or the next day but it lasts for a long time.

I had chronic nausea a few years ago because of a bacterial infection in my gut so I know how difficult it can be. I hope everyone who is ill gets better soon and stays healthy. Health really is the biggest wealth.

By serenesurface — On Jan 08, 2014

@SarahGen-- Have you seen a doctor about it? I think you should find out what's causing the motion sickness. It could be an inner ear problem. It could even be the side effect of a medication. You won't be able to treat it if you don't know what the problem is.

By SarahGen — On Jan 08, 2014

I have terrible motion sickness. I've had it for more than two weeks. Whenever I'm in a vehicle, I have dizziness, nausea and I vomit. It's difficult to even get to work. I take anti-nausea medication half an hour before I drive to work and I eat ginger candies throughout the drive. I also bought anti-nausea wrist bands from the pharmacy. I still almost always end up vomiting when I get there. I'm fine when I'm not in a car though. I don't know how I'm going to continue like this.

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